UNISON has played a key role in the development of a new British standard on menstruation and menopause in the workplace, published today.
This new standard draws on UNISON’s guidance on menopause, designed to assist branches in ensuring that workplaces consider how menopausal symptoms can impact on women, trans and non-binary people.
UNISON national women’s officer Bukky Akinwale said: “The majority of our members are women who will experience the menopause. For many, it will be a natural occurrence, but for many others it can affect them profoundly, leading to emotional and health changes that can impact on their work and relationship with colleagues.”
She continued: “Women make up more than 70% of UNISON’s 1.3 million members and activists. They are 48% of the UK workforce. These women will inevitably experience menopause at some point in their lives, and not necessarily in their late forties or early fifties.
“That makes the menopause a workplace issue and therefore a trade union issue, so it’s important to be able to speak openly about menopause at work.”
Menopause usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55. The average age of menopause in the UK is 51.
The new standard recognises that menopausal symptoms “can coincide with significant mid-life challenges and responsibilities”, with research showing that stress and menopausal symptoms are “inextricably linked”.
Use UNISON’s quiz to see how supportive your workplace is when it comes to the menopause.